Review: The LEGO Book, new edition

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The first edition of DK's The LEGO Book was printed in 2009 and was one of the first LEGO books from the British publisher. The third edition has just been published, having been fully revised, updated and expanded.

It comes with an exclusive printed 2x4 red brick mounted in its cover to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the LEGO brick, which is both a blessing and a curse...


It's a blessing because it's a cool brick, printed on one face with a small section from the original patent diagram along with the dates 1958 and 2018.

But it's also a curse because it comes mounted in a 1cm thick cover which, if you have any other DK books with cover-mounted minifigs or bricks, you will know makes it more difficult to hold, lay flat and read the actual book.

View image at flickr

The book provides a broad overview of everything LEGO: the history of the company and the product, a survey of play themes, which takes up the bulk of the book, and a chapter devoted to everything else: LEGOLAND, brand stores, games, films, art, fan builders, Ideas and so on. Given its scope it doesn't go into depth on any subject. Instead, it covers just about everything the casual reader would want to know about the product, all superbly presented, as we have accustomed to in DK books.

Since the second edition was published in 2012 a lot of new product ranges have been released and much has happened in the LEGO world. This is reflected in this new edition which now includes about 40 new pages covering Nexo Knights, Mixels, Elves, Boost, Jurassic World, the LEGO House, the LEGO Movie and so on. Pages concerning product ranges that retired prior to 2012 are, as far as I can tell, largely untouched.

One shortcoming it shares with earlier editions is that products released before the mid-1990s or so get minimal coverage, and those made in the 1960s and 1970s are almost absent altogether, particularly in the play themes chapter. I suspect this is largely due to suitable high quality images being unavailable.

When the first edition of The LEGO Book was published it was an essential purchase, because there was nothing else like it still in print. It remains an excellent book but is perhaps not quite as indispensable as that first version, simply because there are now dozens of similar DK titles that cover much of the same material, often in more depth.

It's not a book you'll pick up and read from cover to cover but it's great to flick through from time to time, so makes an excellent coffee table book, or indeed a Christmas gift for the young or old LEGO fan.

It's currently £11.28 at Amazon.co.uk, and $16.51 at Amazon.com.


View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr


Quick poll about this book

I want it
I have it already
It's of no interest to me

Thanks to DK for providing the book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

 

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21 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

I totally agree that the book is a little too weighted towards the modern for me. It turns into a protracted advertising piece for LEGO's various ranges rather than an-depth look at their output over time. I will need to look around for something more nostalgic, suggestions welcome.

Having said that, the book is nicely designed and very accessible for a pretty decent price.

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By in United States,

I got the first one from the library once, and I had to have it for myself. It was an awesome book. I have no idea what happened to it though.

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By in United States,

When I got the first LEGO Book I actually did read it cover to cover. Our parents often took us on incredibly boring camping trips and I had plenty of time to analyze everything.

Out of curiousity, I've got two questions. First, is the BIONICLE 2015 reboot covered in the same section as the OG or has it been split off as it's own thing? I know they kept all three Space Polices pretty close together so I'd assume the former. Second, if it contains Brickheadz are they given their own section or do they have the sets highlighted among the other themes?

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By in United Kingdom,

Good questions...

There's a new double-page spread 'Bionicle returns'. BrickHeadz are not covered separately, but one or two are shown on the relevant play theme pages, e.g. Marvel and DC.

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By in United States,

The title says, "Review: The LEGO Book, new edition" so since it it is a review, shouldn't it have a poll
at the end?

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By in United Kingdom,

^ Oh alright then...

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By in Germany,

@LSWFan: "Great LEGO Sets: A Visual History" is a good nostalgic one that also covers the 80s, 90s and 2000s and some of the earlier sets from the 70s. There was a poll here on brickset a couple of years ago asking for which sets were to be included in the book. About the first half of the 2010s is in the book, too, but the choice just feels random and a bit like an "advertising" measure as you pointed out.

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By in United Kingdom,

The Lego elements to remember is an interesting segment... I guess they're not saying that it was the first appearance of that piece, but the lego bear was introduced before 2018 (2012? albeit in brown) and the Duplo toger cub's feet seem to have been replicated onto the Classic Dragon.

Think I have the original book, or one similar to it. And occasionally dip into them for building ideas and inspiration.

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By in Canada,

Curious that the piece used to represent Bionicle parts was a Krana, especially that specific one, considering that the Krana were introduced in 2002, not 2001 when Bionicle started. Wouldn't a Hau be a better representation? Even a Pakari or summat probably would've made more sense.

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By in United Kingdom,

^ Yes it was. There were three books published that year then none until the 1st edition of this book 10 years later.

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By in Norway,

Funny, I got the book in the mail today. Looks nice, cool brick and great pictures and facts inside :) Recommended!

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By in United States,

It's a neat book, at least the old one is. I dig the brick.

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By in United States,

Love these types of books, but prefer the themed ones instead i.e. DC, Collectable minifigs, etc.

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By in United Kingdom,

@Sebastian - Thanks, I will check that book out.

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By in Germany,

It seems like a nice book for the casual reader, especially one who hasn't got any LEGO books already.

I don't think this will do anything for me though. Among many others I have got "Great LEGO Sets: A Visual History", which seems more comprehensive to me. I also got other books on LEGO Star Wars, on the minifigures, on LEGO trains, as well as all kinds of other specialzed books by DK as well as No Starch Press, which also offer excellent material. Therefor I will likely not get this one. Love the exclusive 2x4 brick though.

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By in Australia,

I use these books for ideas/inspiration for my own MOCs. Mainly got it for the brick though.

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By in United States,

@Will_Brownman:
That had me scratching my head, too. I suppose partial credit is due for at least picking the most Hau-like Krana, but in my mind the single element that most represents the Bionicle theme is the Infected Hau.

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By in United Kingdom,

I managed to pick this up from Amazon last week for £8.50.

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By in United States,

In the same vein of puzzling example pieces, why use a Technic competition arrow to represent Exo-Force? A few of those sets had it, sure, but the piece had been in use since 1998, and if anything, the light brick (54604) would be a more representative piece for the entire theme.

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By in United States,

@Drzhivago138
That's an even weirder pick than Bionicle. Exo-Force was actually on the tail end of the 2nd gen mushroom cap darts and the leading edge of the blend-molded version. They did at least use a color that was featured in Exo-Force sets, but it originated in Dino Attack.

But the problem is, what other element is representative of the Exo-Force theme, original to the theme, and also iconic enough to be recognized? Most people wouldn't be able to figure out what the light brick is, and the fernhead hairstyles are best forgotten. If I'd had to pick the piece used for this, I probably would have gone with the Iron Drone robot.

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